Slough Council’s plan to sell Odeon and other assets set to pass

Slough Borough Council plans to sell assets including the Odeon cinema in Basingstoke are set to go ahead. Advisors will decide on the asset disposal program as part of its improvement and recovery plans.

The local authority intends to sell properties up to a value of £600million to pay off the debt. The council’s loan debt is equivalent to £760m, alongside a black hole of £479m.

It is hoped that by selling almost half of its £1.2bn portfolio of assets, it will reduce its borrowing debt to a sustainable level by April 1, 2027. The government has said that he was “willing to” approve the board’s capitalization request, essentially using capital money. as revenue for current services, but is waiting for the local authority’s four-year accounts to be validated by an external auditor.

READ MORE: Slough Borough Council’s finance department to undergo major restructuring

Cabinet members last year agreed to delegate authority to Chief Executive Richard West to sell assets up to a value of £1million after consulting the relevant senior adviser and the chief financial officer. All assets over £1million will go directly to the firm for review.

Senior advisers have been asked to amend its constitution so that a cabinet committee can be set up to focus on the asset disposal program to allow for more focused review and debate on specific proposals and to make recommendations to cabinet. The head of the council, James Swindlehurst, will appoint the members of this committee.

It’s about adding an extra layer of governance to the disposal strategy as well as selling the assets “in a timely manner”. If senior councilors agree to this change, the document will go to a full council meeting next month for final approval.

Elsewhere in the report, it is stated that the disposal strategy which outlines the properties and lands that will go will be prepared by the end of this month. The report also revealed that four borough assets, such as the Odeon Cinema in Basingstoke, are among the properties to be included in the first wave of sales.

It also hints that properties and land owned by the council’s Slough Urban Renewal company, such as Montem and Stoke Wharf, are considered part of the disposal strategy. Assets used by the community, such as the Windmill Road site, are also on the table, but the council will consider equality impacts and, if serious, the decision to sell or not will be left to elected members. .

Senior advisers are due to review the asset disposal program at a cabinet meeting on Monday, June 20.

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